R E S T
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, November 8, 2005
Since the so-called state of Nirvana is not rest but the highest tension of energy, one may ask whether rest exists altogether. Indeed, how is it possible to imagine rest if everything is in motion and exists by reason of motion? Those who desired to hide from existence invented the very concept of rest. They preferred passivity, forgetting that there can be no moment without motion. Balance is the concept needed. One should think not of rest but how to preserve the balance amidst the whirlwinds. The silver thread is tautened by the power of striving; hence one must know the meaning of balance, lest one burden the thread of Hierarchy through faltering. The thread will not break when tautened. For even a straw resists as long as it is not bent. The silver thread is founded upon the law of concatenation, but if someone does not refrain from hasty fluctuations, he usually cannot hold the link. Thus, let us not bemoan the lack of rest, because it does not exist at all.
Nirvana is the quality of assimilation of all actions. The saturation of all-inclusiveness brings you true knowledge, flowing from the tremor of illumination. Languages have no more precise definition of this process. Quietude is only an external aspect, and quietude does not express the essential nature of the condition. Buddha mentioned quietude, but His listeners assimilated only this external aspect. For to the people who heard him the idea of rest was very attractive. Action as something meritorious is too little understood.
Illumination, III: V: 7.
Life rushes by like a waterfall, but not many perceive its motion. Those who yearn for rest regard life as if it were a tomb. What is rest? This concept is an invention of the dark ones. What manifest timidity people reveal when they speak of rest! For them, rest is idleness. This kind of rest is always an earth-bound joy, a joy of doing nothing that is not Ours. Is nature ever idle? We, as parts of nature, are subject to its laws.
One does not always have to be running. Nor need one choose for himself a life of seclusion. Even a plant, for example, though rooted, exists in a state of constant activity.
Agni Yoga, 268.
He who is spiritually inert cannot be an Arhat. The Teacher sometimes speaks of the need for rest, but never says that rest may become equal to that of a moribund spirit. One who imposes such limitations on himself can neither hear nor see. We are told about motionless Arhats, but you must know that their stillness is only external. Many people are pleased when they can find excuses for their inertia. Any call to action disrupts their leisurely state of mind. Can such people be allowed to approach the element of fire, which in its very nature requires vigilance? Fire is like a scherzo, a fugue. But glowing embers are like an andante. Of course, the many kinds of flame all have different rhythms, but an Agni Yogi will never be an unresponsive sluggard.
Agni Yoga, 415.
Does an Arhat rest? You already know that a change of labor is rest, but the true repose of an Arhat is his thought about the Beautiful. Amidst various labors, thought about the Beautiful is the bridge and power and stream of benevolence. Let us weigh a thought of evil and a thought of good, and we shall prove to ourselves that the beautiful thought is more powerful. Let us organically analyze different thoughts, and we shall see that a beautiful thought is a treasury of health. In beautiful thinking an Arhat beholds the ladder of ascent. In this active thinking is the Arhat’s repose. In what else can we find another source of benevolence?
Fiery World I, 177.
The Teacher must remember that each one carries his own load. It is impossible to make all equal. One cannot demand the same speed from all, and one must encourage each one who knows how to bear his burden. It is not easy for the Teacher, and no one should think that an Arhat rests. When we approach the preordained dates, is it possible to imagine a pleasant respite in the earthly sense?
Fiery World I, 445.
The Brotherhood knows no rest. Let the meaning of rest be pleasing only on the physical paths.
The forging of the sword in the flame under the hammer's blow is the best illustration of how one tempers one's psychic energy. Someone may ask how to endure unrest and agitation. But rest can be found only at the peak of unrest. There is no rest amidst the cosmic whirlwinds. The blind and deaf may dream of a rest that does not exist, but the ones who see, who want only to see clearly, prefer to endure the storms. There is no rest, as people understand it. One cannot step out of the turning spiral of creation. One has to evoke Teros as one's anchor, to link oneself to the proper chain of currents. The strong spirit rejoices in tempering his sword.
Agni Yoga, 602.
It is wise to become accustomed to there being no rest or end. But the realization alone of Hierarchy and Our Brotherhood already directs the traveler along the shortest path in the Infinite.
Agni Yoga, 652.
Psychic energy, like the heart, knows no rest. There can be no long interruption in the activity of the heart, just as the outflow of psychic energy is incessant. The heart is not needed in an earthly sense during sojourn in the Higher World, but psychic energy can never interrupt its own current. Constancy is also a basic quality of the energy. The moving force of the energy is the motion of the spiral lines of the entire Universe. One may see glorious architectonics in the whole harmoniousness of the countless currents of energy.
Let us agree on the meaning of the concept of rest. Around this concept a multitude of false and harmful interpretations have clustered. People have become accustomed to think that rest is inaction; in this way it has become transformed into psychic enfeeblement. Inaction is most corruptive for psychic energy. Each spiritual immobility will fatigue, not regenerate.
Physicians prescribe rest, quiet, all kinds of inaction, and assume that in a moribund state it is possible to restore strength. But these same physicians understand that weakness and collapse result from violation of equilibrium. Thus, rest is nothing but equilibrium. But equilibrium is a proportionate tension of energy. Only thus is it possible to restore and strengthen one's forces.
It is of no consequence whether equilibrium be acquired in desert or city–the main requisite is constant tension. The path of tension is the path of striving, that is to say, the path of life. The incompetent physician warns against expenditure of strength, but strength is dissipated through lack of equilibrium. Truly, then, equilibrium will be the best, the only panacea. A sensible use of fresh air is worthy of consideration as an assisting expedient, but this does not require a long period of time.
Let the concept of rest be rightly understood for the manifestation of Brotherhood. Unrest begets aimless bustle.
Some say that work can be fatiguing and even injurious to the health. Thus say lazy and inert people. Understand that work properly apportioned cannot in itself be fatiguing. One should understand how to effect a proper change of the group of working nerves, and then no fatigue can find access. Do not try to find rest in idleness. Idleness is but the microbe of indolence. Muscles may ache after tension, but you have but to plunge into idleness to begin to feel the full pain. Whereas, by calling into action the opposite centers one can completely avoid the reflex of the previous tension. Indeed, implicit herein is a great mobility, which is developed by conscious experience. Illumination, III: V: 15.
The evolution of all that exists is not separate from the evolution of each spirit; it is as one spiral in eternal motion. The spiritual consciousness impelled to Our heights accumulates treasures and offers those gifts to Space. Through spiritual consciousness your planet is enriched. Materialism does not move evolution. Materialistic consciousness, pushing toward immobility, breeds the mosquitoes subsisting in the stagnant waters. The cause of the immobility of thought is terrifying. There is no endless rest. Therefore, do not tarry on one spot; either the shifting will swallow you or you will help the cosmic revolution. The basis of everything is the spiral, and you must understand the essence of the eternal Spatial Fire.
Infinity I, 8.
For a long time I have spoken repeatedly about the blessed obstacles, but there are few who love the struggle for achievement. However, it is inevitable to become used to the struggle, because otherwise it is impossible to temper the blade of the spirit. For earthly progress, as well as for the far-off worlds, obstacles and the ability to conquer them are needed. To be at rest does not befit a Hierarch.
It is unwise to speak of complete rest during tension of the heart, because primarily there is no rest; on the contrary, the tension of the heart senses the cosmic whirls all the more, and may be shaken by vibrations.
Urusvati knows the true meaning of rest. We have already said that rest should be a change of labor, but there are other beneficial ways to rest, such as communion with the Supermundane World, enrichment of knowledge, contemplation of the grandeur of nature, and human creativity. Some will call these ways of rest a broadening of consciousness, others a liberation from ego, and others, a victory of the spirit. They will all be right. The rapture of lofty perceptions can transform one’s life, if one is able to sustain the valuable inner vibrations. It is regrettable that people can so rarely make use of these true values. Usually, negative feelings impede recognition of the most beautiful. Rather than take the given opportunities to rest, man sinks into irritation and harms not only himself, but all his surroundings. The true nature of rest should be explained in the schools. Rest brings health to the spirit and the body. Let the young builders of life find a balance between labor and rest.
Supermundane IV, 857.